HomeCruiseMegacities and dream beaches: through Southeast Asia on the “Mein Schiff 5”

Megacities and dream beaches: through Southeast Asia on the “Mein Schiff 5”

In the middle of the financial district is the Lian Xin food stall in the basement of a Buddhist temple. “For 6 Singapore dollars, the equivalent of 4 euros, you can get a delicious vegetarian dish of rice or pasta,” says tour guide Martine Janssens. Welcome to Singapore. The port city is just one of the megacities included in the South-East Asia cruise program with the “Mein Schiff 5”.

Must see in Singapore: Gardens by the Bay

“When I arrived here in 1996, there were only 1.3 million residents. Now we already have 5.6 million. “Singapore has grown incredibly,” says Janssens during our tour. The woman of Belgian origin also travels to Merlion, the landmark of the city-state. The white figure stands on the Singapore River, is half fish and half lion and is a popular photo motif. The Gardens by the Bay is another attraction worth planning a visit to, as our guide recommends.

The Supertrees at the entrance to the botanical garden are imposing artificial constructions modeled on sequoia trees. They act as ventilation systems, produce electricity and can store rainwater. Technical marvels. Even more spectacular, however, are the enormous and futuristic domes of the greenhouse, where you can admire a natural setting with a cloud forest, an internal waterfall and 150,000 species of plants from all continents.

Directly opposite is the famous Marina Bay Sands Hotel. Three towers and the longest infinity pool in the world: it is located on the top floor of the 57th, it is 200 meters high and 150 meters long.

On a Singapore Sling to Raffles Hotel

Later we head to the Long Bar at Raffles Hotel. This is the only place in Singapore where you can dirty the floor without being fined: simply drop peanut shells served with your drink onto the tiles.

But the Long Bar is legendary because of a cocktail that was invented here in 1915: the Singapore Sling. At the time, etiquette prohibited women from drinking alcohol in public. Bartender Ngiam Ton Boon saw a niche in the market and decided to create a cocktail that tasted like fruit juice. With London Dry Gin, Dom Bénédictine, cherry liqueur, Curaçao, pineapple and lime juice, grenadine and a splash of Angostura bitters, the Singapore Sling was born. Today, cocktail enthusiasts from around the world line up at the Long Bar to sip the $37 frothy pink fruit punch.

Lots of action on board

In the late afternoon we return to “Mein Schiff 5” and the great journey begins. At 7pm sharp it’s time to set sail and we want to enjoy sailing. Meeting point, deck five, champagne bar. Afterwards dinner in the Atlantic – classical music, and then perhaps on the pool terrace for the welcome party on board.

There is so much to discover on the ship that you won’t get bored. Relaxation, activity, fun, entertainment – ​​whatever you want, the offer is varied and diverse. You can start the day with water aerobics or cycling, take part in painting classes, play shuffleboard or try a sushi workshop.

As we glide leisurely through the South China Sea at twelve knots, most passengers head to the pool on their first day at sea.

Koh Samui: At the largest coconut plantation in the country

The next day we anchor off the coast of a dream island: Koh Samui, on the edge of the Gulf of Thailand. We are taken ashore in lifeboats. Let’s go on the coconut trip. The island is considered the largest coconut plantation in Thailand; approximately two million coconuts are harvested every month.

At the Agriculture Coconut Learning Center we learn from locals how many types of coconuts there are, how they are grown and harvested. Coconuts are opened with sharp machetes. And we can prove it: not only the white coconut pulp is delicious, but also the coconut water, which tastes pleasantly sweet and wonderfully refreshing.

The coconut palm is also called the “tree of life” in Thailand. Not only because nuts are extremely healthy, but also because of their many uses. Palm fibers are used to make brushes, ropes and mattress pads, palm wood is used for bowls, cutlery, furniture and houses, coconut shells are used as fuel, and the fruits are used to make food and cosmetics.

In the Honey Rose herb garden, Manee Honey shows us how she cooks a scented massage oil with home-grown herbs, roots, flowers and coconut oil in a huge pot. The 60-year-old is considered one of the last experts in traditional herbal medicine in Thailand.

At lunchtime we drive into the jungle to the Baan Suan Lang Sad restaurant, where chef Air Kannitha Sae Lim offers us a menu. Served are fried coconut sprouts with chicken, coconut soup with chicken, fried fish with garlic, pad Thai noodles with shrimp, and for dessert, coconut ice cream with coconut caramel. Delightful.

Next we visit Hotel W Koh Samui. The retreat is located on Mae Nam Beach. Put your feet up, swim in the sea and enjoy aperitifs and cocktails. Oh, life is beautiful!

To the temples and palaces of Bangkok

The next day we discover many facets of Bangkok. From the port of Laem Chabang it takes two and a half hours by bus to reach the capital of Thailand. Here we start with a visit to the Royal Palace. In 1782, construction of the great palace on the eastern bank of the Chao Praya River began. The complex, which was the residence of the kings of Siam for 150 years and includes more than 100 different buildings, is magnificent. One can only be amazed at how much each building and temple is decorated with gold, mosaics and wall paintings.

Wat Arun is another Buddhist temple that we visit during our tour of Bangkok. It is also called the Temple of Dawn. “Wat Arun is the Instagram hotspot, especially in the fashion scene it is popular to have your photo taken here,” reveal the tour guides.

Later, we’ll travel through the bustling capital by tuk-tuk, relax with an authentic Thai massage, and combine dinner with sightseeing on a dinner cruise on a restored antique rice barge.

Relax on a day at the beach

Björn Maletzki planned to really relax and unwind for a while in the sea. Kieler took the trip as a gift for her fiftieth birthday and is traveling alone on a ship for the first time. “Until now I thought every day: how good you were to do that,” says the North German.

His favorite place on the ship is the Outer Alster: bar and grill on deck 14. “I actually sit there almost every evening.” A true holiday friendship was born with the guys at the bar. Otherwise, Maletzki is a big fan of the shows on board. What he liked most was the crew show, where crew members from many countries showed their talent. “An Indian security guard sang John Legend’s song ‘All of me’, but at a crazy level,” enthuses the lone traveler.

Coffee and shopping in Ho Chi Minh City

Land in sight: Ho Chi Minh City, the former Saigon, awaits us. From the port of Phu My it takes just under two hours to reach the city of nine million inhabitants in southern Vietnam. Coffee addicts are in good hands here. On every street corner you can find a charming cafe where young and old alike sit together and enjoy drinking Ca Phe, as coffee is called in Vietnam. In most bars there is nothing to eat, you just need to bring something with you, like we did with our Bánh mi, a kind of stuffed baguette.

One of the most interesting places is the Café Apartment at 42 Nguyen Hue. Bars, restaurants, shops, beauty salons and co-working spaces have moved into an old apartment building: one shop is trendier than the other. Here you could spend the whole day browsing the nine-story shops, sitting on the balconies, drinking egg coffee – a strong coffee with a thick, creamy foam, made from sweetened eggs and condensed milk – and watching the hustle and bustle along the street. Saigon Clock Walking Street.

We proceed first to the old main post office, a colonial building that the French built from 1886 to 1891. The next stop is the Cô Ba Vung Tàu restaurant, where we try Bánh xèo, crispy rice pancakes filled with vegetables, salad and herbs .

Finally, we visit the famous Cho Ben Thanh Market, a popular shopping destination among tourists. Here you can buy fake designer bags, but also housewares, clothing, flowers, coffee, tea and dried fruit. And then we get back on board and set off towards new adventures.

Tips for your cruise to South East Asia

The ship: In 2016, “Mein Schiff 5” entered service with 15 decks, approximately 1,000 crew members and space for 2,500 passengers. The ship, almost 300 meters long, offers eleven restaurants and bistros, 16 bars and lounges, shops, galleries, casino, 18,000 square meters of outdoor deck space with two swimming pools and an extensive spa and sports area.

Travel: Several providers have cruises to Southeast Asia in their program. Except for Tui Cruises for example Aida, Hapag Lloyd Cruises, MSC and Royal Caribbean. The 14-day trip from Singapore to Hong Kong on the “Mein Schiff 5” can be booked in an inside cabin from 3,139 euros, in an outside cabin from 3,169 euros and in a balcony cabin from 3,889 euros (per person in double occupancy in the cabin , all prices include flight). In 2024, for example, the trip will take place from March 13 to 27. Most food and drinks are included in the tour price.

Excursions must be booked. Participation in the “Singapore Sling and City Tour” excursion, for example, costs 91 euros per person. “The Coconut Journey” on Koh Samui can be booked at 169 euros per person, “Sun, Beach and Sea at the W Beach Club” at 119 euros per person, “Bangkok from dawn to dusk” at 199 euros per person and the excursion “ In small groups: Food tour in Ho Chi Minh City for 89 euros per person.

Source: Reisereporter

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